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Of all the canals in the entire world, the Grand Canal found in China is not only the oldest, but also the longest.  In fact, this canal surpasses the second and third largest canals put together, being the Panama Canal and the Suez.  The Grand Canal was first brought under construction during the Wu Dynasty in 486 BC.  Then it was extended during the Qi Dynasty and then again during the Sui Dynasty under the reign of Emperor Yangdi. 

Because of primitive building techniques, this second expansion took six years from 605 to 610 AD, and consisted of serious labor.  Interestingly, it took about 6,000,000 laborers to complete this second expansion and due to the harsh conditions and extensive work, approximately, 3,000,000 of those people died from the sheer labor and hunger.  At that time, many believed the endeavor was a complete waste of human life and money, which was a huge contributor to the downfall of this dynasty. 

Today, the length of the Grand Canal is approximately 1,200 miles long, running from Hangzhou in the Zhejian province located in the south of China to Beijing, located in the northern portion of the country.  Additionally, the Grand Canal connects a number of river systems to include the Yangtze, Yellow Huaihe, Quiantang, and Haihe Rivers, and then at the southern end, flows through Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang. 

This massive creation has been a huge boost to the Chinese economy, ensuring that the country will continue.  Although the canal is now more than 2,000 years old, many parts of it are still being used as a water diversion conduit.  With this water facility, food and other goods can be transported from the south to the north.  Another huge benefit in addition to strengthening cultural connections and the local economies is that the Grand Canal has improved the defense and administration of China. 

For travelers, the Grand Canal offers the best method for enjoying the magnificent scenery and landscaping of the country seen along the river towns.  By taking a boat cruise down the canal, you can see ancient dwellings, historical relics, and stone bridges, while being served mouthwatering, authentic Chinese food.  Deemed one of the most magnificent structures in ancient China along with the Great Wall of China, this canal is intriguing and fascinating, connecting the historical past with the present and future of this wonderful country.


 

The Great Wall of China The Forbidden City
The Terracotta Army Along the Silk Road
 
Dragon & Phoenix ~ Silk Embroidery
Silk Embroidery
Gold Leaf Painted ~ 10 Inch Turnip Vase
Gold Leaf Lacquer
Pair of 10 Inch Closionne Vases
Cloisonne
Pair of Brass Foo Dogs
Brass & Bronze
Inside Painted Boxes
 
 

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